In honor of next week’s Chicago Rhythm Fest on May 13, a cap off to our 125th Anniversary “Made in Chicago” Dancer Series, we asked the participating companies about what the “Fest” means to them!
Lane Alexander, Artistic Director of Chicago Human Rhythm Project
The Chicago Rhythm Fest is an evolution. The Chicago Human Rhythm Project began presenting collaborative concerts 25 years ago, so when Brett Batterson invited CHRP to be a part of the Auditorium’s 125th Anniversary and the “Made in Chicago” series, our first thought was to invite as many of our friends in the American tap and global percussive dance community as possible for this double anniversary – CHRP’s 25th and Auditorium’s 125th! While the timing was perfect, the times in which we live call just as loudly for this program. On the beautiful Auditorium stage and in a single night, we will see and hear thousands of years of accumulated cultural practice from Africa, Ireland, Spain, Mexico and America – from dances done in villages thousands of years ago to those done on the Broadway stage – done together – using rhythm as the universal language – seeking understanding – celebrating together – finding common ground on the stomping ground. Our vision is to make this an annual part of Chicago’s cultural tapestry and to continue to speak to each other through rhythm in order to build a more peaceful and tolerant society – and one in which we do more than tolerate each other, but actually appreciate and admire the ‘other’! So I hope you will join us on May 13, our inaugural year, and stomp your feet and clap your hands and make some joyful noise!
Gail Kalver, Project Manager of Chicago Rhythm Fest and STOMPING GROUNDS
From the perspective of being a native Chicagoan, Chicago Rhythm Fest is “so Chicago” — inclusive, colorful, lively and fun. It represents many nations, cultures and Chicago communities, celebrating the diversity of our great City. And where else to present this cornucopia of life, dance and rhythm than the historic Auditorium Theatre, home to all cultures and Chicago celebrations — from dance to music, and now even football with the NFL Draft. I think the Roosevelts would be delighted to see how “their” theater is adding to the heart and soul of all of the people of Chicago.
David Carillo, Artistic Director of Mexican Dance Ensemble
On a personal level it is very fulfilling to be part of such wonderful and creative festival that is Chicago Rhythm Fest. With it comes great responsibility, performing the best work possible in order to allow this unprecedented event to grow and continue through the years entertaining and informing spectators. At larger scale, bringing popular Mexican folk dances to one of Chicago’s finest historic theaters, the Auditorium Theatre, and being part of this percussive dance movement along with four other amazing dance companies has no comparison.
Mark Howard, Artistic Director of Trinity Irish Dance Company
Long before I founded TIDC, as a young Chicagoan learning to step dance, I was afforded the privilege of dancing alongside so many traditional groups at Chicago celebrations and festivals. It has been over a decade since TIDC has appeared at the devastatingly beautiful Auditorium Theatre. Chicago Rhythm Fest is about celebrating our common language through traditional percussive styles as well as pushing the boundaries of what is possible. It’s about connecting.